By Capt. Gerald Grant, director of the Craniofacial Imaging Research Group, Naval Postgraduate Dental School, directorate of Navy Medicine Manpower Personnel Training and Education Command and service chief of 3-D Medical Application Center, Bethesda, Md.
"My team and I are currently involved in some unique craniofacial reconstruction projects and we’re partnering with the FBI to do it. We are developing a process where digital images of the skull and the complete head are captured during dental inprocessing of service member recruits. The process will provide a digital template for craniofacial reconstruction to be used if necessary in the event of combat trauma. I have found that the use of digital 3-D images to produce cranial implants for our wounded warriors has reduced the fabrication and surgical time by more than half. By taking images at the time of entry into service, we are able to use the original images of personnel to improve our reconstructions, minimize operating room (OR) time, and create better outcomes.